Dispelling the lurid stereotypes portrayed in fiction, Alain Corbin depicts prostitution in nineteenth-century France not as a vice, crime, or disease, but as a well-organized business. Corbin reveals how the brothel served the sex industry in the same way that the factory served manufacturing: it provided an institution for the efficient and profitable sale of services.
Majestic, path-breaking… The first systematic investigation of the political and economic aspects of the French sex trade.
A challenging and provocative book which remains the essential study in its field… Corbin amply demonstrates the centrality of prostitution to the social history of modern France.
Illuminating… An abundance of superb data enables [Corbin] to treat an often murky and always emotive topic with unusual rigor and detachment.
An engrossing story full of intimate details about the actual lives of women.
This is a thorough, fascinating account of the lives of prostitutes, the workings of prostitution as a business and the continuing debates in France over the application of the ‘French system’ of regulation. This translation from the French Les filles de noce is a welcome contribution to the English historiography, providing an excellent source for those working on numerous dimensions of modern French history.
- 512 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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